December 2, 2010

Your monthly pass to world-class public transportation and more wonderful, walkable communities.

Are you living in a public transportation rider’s paradise?  Is your neighborhood heaven for walking and bicycling?

Check out Transit Score, a cool tool that ranks places in terms of how well they’re served by public transportation; Walk Score does the same for walkability.

If you want to make everyplace score high when it comes to transit, walking, biking, affordability, and smart growth, donate now to TransForm.

You’ll help us work even harder in 2011 and if you donate before January 1, your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar!  Plus, your gift of $40 or more means you’ll attend a special TransForum in January with world-renowned planner Peter Calthorpe.

Now onto the latest actions, news, and events:

  • Help halt unfair cuts to transit riders’ tax benefits!
  • Speak up for congestion pricing to improve traffic and transit
  • Election results are a mixed bag for our issues
  • BART extension in Eastern Contra Costa County will spurmore walkable neighborhoods
  • Small business owners in San Jose back Bus Rapid Transit
  • Learn lessons from the Netherlands on December 6 in San Jose
  • State Senator Mark Leno talks about pedestrian issues on December 9 in San Francisco
  • A moment of gratitude for Richard Goldman’s incredible generosity

Help halt unfair cuts to transit riders’ tax benefits!

Last year, Congress nearly doubled the amount workers could deduct from their paychecks to $230 (before taxes) to apply toward monthly commuting costs on public transportation – matching the deduction that car commuters get for parking.  But this tax benefit is about to expire, meaning rail and bus riders will go back to getting just a $120/month benefit while drivers continue to enjoy a $230/month benefit.  We don’t think that’s fair and if you agree, your representatives need to hear from you!  Take action against the cuts now.

Speak up for congestion pricing to improve traffic and transit

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) just released a YouTube video showing how congestion pricing can make it more attractive to walk, bike, and take public transportation by funding improvements and reducing traffic. 

We want more people to understand the benefits of congestion pricing so it comes to life in San Francisco and elsewhere.  Watch and share the video now, and consider attending the SFCTA Citizens Advisory Committee on December 8 at 6pm (100 Van Ness Ave, 26th Floor) or the SFCTA Board meeting December 14 at 11am (City Hall Legislative Chambers, Room 250).  Can't attend?  Submit your support for congestion pricing online.

Election results are a mixed bag for our issues

The results of the election still a bit murky, such as some of the legal issues surrounding propositions that passed like Prop 26.  Overall it’s a mixed bag for public transportation, walking, biking and smart growth in the Bay Area and California.  Read more about the election results, including the five counties that passed vehicle registration fees.

BART extension in Eastern Contra Costa County will spur more walkable neighborhoods

At a recent groundbreaking, construction began on “eBART”, a 10-mile extension of the BART system into Eastern Contra Costa County.  This extension will not only provide better public transportation options for residents, but a chance to create more walkable communities.

Over the past four years as part of the Great Communities Collaborative, TransForm and local community groups have engaged in planning processes for the areas around future e-BART stations in Pittsburg and Antioch. Together, these plans envision over 5,000 new homes in transit villages (with significant numbers of affordable units) near stations – and represent a bold new direction for a part of the region that has typically been home to mostly sprawl development.

Small business owners in San Jose back Bus Rapid Transit

Bus Rapid Transit, with its dedicated lanes, state-of-the-art buses, and frequent service is an affordable way to make bus service much faster and more reliable.

One of the first Bus Rapid Transit projects is being planned along the Alum Rock corridor in San Jose. In the spring of 2010, TransForm reached out to and surveyed 217 merchants along the corridor about the project.  Final survey results show that most merchants are supportive of Bus Rapid Transit thanks to the better bus service it will provide both customers and employees.  Like KALW reported back in March, small business owners can become real transit advocates!

Learn lessons from the Netherlands on December 6 in San Jose

The Netherlands boasts a 27% bike mode share. How do they do it? And can San Jose and other cities across the region replicate it? Come learn how Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are tackling the same transportation and land use challenges as the Bay Area on December 6 at 7 p.m. at San Jose City Hall.  Learn more.

State Senator Mark Leno talks about pedestrian issues on December 9 in San Francisco

Attend Walk San Francisco’s annual member meeting on December 9 from 6 – 8 p.m. at SPUR’s downtown San Francisco office for the latest on pedestrian issues, including remarks from State Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.  RSVP now.

A moment of gratitude for Richard Goldman’s incredible generosity

On November 29, Richard Goldman passed away.  Mr. Goldman and his wife, Rhoda, gave away hundreds of millions of dollars through their foundation, including a grant to TransForm back in 2000 that was pivotal in giving us momentum in our early years.  More recently, the foundation supported our work on state transportation reform and the efforts of the Great Communities Collaborative.   We are so grateful for Mr. Goldman’s incredible dedication to improving the environment in the Bay Area and around the world.